When I reviewed the Seiko Sonar, I said that the 5KX is not a true SKX replacement. Many people started their watch collecting journey with the SKX007 and 009, and disappointment ensued when Seiko discontinued them. The new models lack a lot of things that made the SKX watches so popular. But what if there was a replacement? The Islander Watch Diver might be just that!
Islander offers a number of watches under its own brand that use Seiko-style cases, as well as mod parts that fit the SXK platform. The brand offers the specs that the 5KX can't deliver on, including 200m of water resistance, screw-down crowns, and sold casebacks.
The Islander watches also come pre-equipped with a number of popular upgrades including sapphire crystals, hacking, and hand-winding movements, and improved bezel inserts. When I saw this titanium model with a full-lume dial and bezel insert at the Windup Watch Fair, I decided to check one out! It didn't hurt that all of the guys in the Long Island Watch booth were some of the nicest people at the fair!
First Impressions of the Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver
The familiar shape of the SKX is here, but its polished and brushed surfaces are replaced with a matte finish in darker gray due to it being titanium. The color looks very cool against the off-white dial and bezel, and the black markers and hands as well as the gray coral pattern on the dial.
When you pick up the watch, you'll feel another reminder that this is no SKX. Its titanium construction makes it significantly lighter and more comfortable.
Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver Details
The matte case features a thin chamfer down the side that extends onto the lugs.
The sapphire bezel insert features black markings. The bezel is also coin-edged. Both are common SKX aftermarket upgrades. A black chapter ring provides contrast and clearly marks the minutes.
A sapphire crystal with AR coating on the underside provides a scratch-resistant view of the dial.
Unlike a Seiko, the coin-edged crown is signed, in this case with the Islander logo.
The caseback also features a deeply machined Long Island lighthouse along with the brand's logo and a wave pattern. Important specs are around the circumference.
Wearing the Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver
While it's a larger watch at 43mm wide, Seiko does a good job of masking the size of its larger divers. Take that design, then reduce the weight significantly by making it out of titanium, and you have a comfortable diver.
The bezel rotation is not as smooth as a Seiko diver. I think this is due to it being harder to machine titanium rather than any quality differences. Unlike many Seikos that I've owned, the bezel lines up with 12 perfectly, and has less play.
In the daylight, matte black applied markers with polished surrounds pop against the white dial. Black-framed hands ensure great legibility and have a more attractive shape than the standard Seiko hands.
The C3 lume on this watch is also quite bright! The dial and bezel almost become a flashlight in the dark after a full charge.
For contrast, the hands are filled with blue BGW9 lume. While I appreciate the unique color change, I would find fully black hands easier to read while the dial is glowing. A minor preference, as most people would likely prefer the way the dual color looks.
The Strap and replacement straps for the Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver
Islander fits the Sands Point with a strap made from my favorite material, FKM rubber. In this case, it is fitted to the case with a 22mm curved end. It feels very solid and of high quality.
They even install a titanium deployant clasp to match the Case! The design is similar to that of an OE Seiko buckle but with more micro-adjust holes.
The strap has to be cut to length.
Being a white dial Seiko, a ton of straps look great on this watch. Of course, I had to install a Seiko Luminous Elastic strap on it to get the full glow effect! Keep reading at the end of this article to see and shop for more straps to fit the Islander Sands Point.
The area between the lugs has a deep cutout, ensuring that even the thickest straps can be installed.
The lug holes are also standard size, rather than the oversized holes in most Seiko divers. This is my preference.
Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver Movement
Islander powers the Sands Point with a Seiko NH38 movement. While its commonly used in open-heart applications due to its balance wheel visible from the front, Islander installs it in a closed dial. The reason for this is that it's also a no-date movement. By installing it in the no-date Sands Diver, the annoying phantom date position has been eliminated. This small touch shows that Islander knows what its customers are looking for.
Otherwise, the movement shares similar specs to the popular NH35 date movement. It's a great combination of robustness and value. Unlike the 7S movement in the original SKX, it also offers hacking (stop seconds) and hand-winding.
For around $300-$350 Islander offers a number of models that provide the look and performance of an original SKX, but with a number of important upgrades lacking in those models. You'll get a nicer watch, without the hassle of buying and installing mod parts.
Those prices are roughly what Seiko charges for a Seiko 5, but Seiko uses mineral crystals and aluminum inserts, and lacks screw-down crowns on those watches.
Then for just a little bit more, you even get the Sands Point watch shown here with its more expensive titanium case and full lume dial. At $395, It provides a great value. Unless you find it important to have that Seiko logo on the dial, Islander watches are worth considering.
Name: Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver with Lumed Coral Dial
Reference Number: ISL-161
Lug Width: 22mm
Movement: Seiko NH38
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Water Resistance: 200m
Crystal: Sapphire with inner anti-reflective coating
Bezel: 120-click Uni-directional with C3 lume and sapphire insert
Strap: FKM Rubber, folding titanium clasp with micro-adjust holes
Shop Other Straps for the Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver: